QR Code decoding support for native camera App on iPhone, Android or Windows devices

native qr code decoding cam app

One way to solve the technical barrier for people to scan QR Codes would be to include a QR Code scanner in the native camera app of a Smartphone. People will not need to install a 3rd party app anymore and direct support in the OS will make QR Code decoding much faster.

iPhones with iOS11 support native QR Code Reading

As of September 2017 updating Apple devices to iOS 11 enables users to read QR Codes without a third party app! Read more about how to use the native camera app decoding QR Codes here:ios11 native camera qr code reader iphone

Galaxy S9 camera can now scan QR codes

As of June 2019 Samsung Galaxy S9 supports scanning QR Codes with the native camera app. A soon a QR code is detected, the camera displays a popup with the link to the website encoded in the QR code, so you can open that website with a single tap.

Microsoft Windows phones support native QR Code scanning

Microsoft did a first step towards QR Code recognition in their camera app, but with only 2.6% market share in the worldwide smartphone market[1] this is just a small portion. Lumia phones have a built in QR Code Reading App, but making a QR Code readable requires to setup the camera every time a QR Code is scanned. Using a 3rd party scanning app is much more comfortable.

Google is afraid of QR Codes killing their Ad business

An assumption why Google has no interest in supporting QR Code decoding in the native camera app is because a direct link in the QR Code bypasses Google Search. Google wants you to use their search engine for displaying ads and tracking your behavior instead of directly linking you to a website[2].

Motorola as a first mover

Motorola native Cam App supports QR Codes

However Motorola, who is using Android as their basic OS, updated its native Camera App that allows QR Code scanning[3]. The app can be downloaded for Motorola devices here.


There are native QR Code scanning solutions for Windows, iPhone and Android devices. However Microsoft needs to improve the UX drastically, so that people will actually know how to use the native camera function for scanning QR Codes instead of downloading a 3rd party app. If Google sees a potential harm in affecting their ad and tracking business, they could release a native camera app that tracks all QR Code scans and previews the target URL of the QR Code in addition with some ads displayed below before redirecting the user to the website. Finally Apple included native QR Code decoding since the Asian market is using QR Codes almost everywhere and Apple might wants to be a player in the QR Code payment industry. Let’s see how Android will follow…

[1] http://www.idc.com/prodserv/smartphone-os-market-share.jsp

[2] http://www.quora.com/Why-havent-Google-or-Apple-embedded-a-QR-reader-in-their-Camera-apps

[3] http://www.techtimes.com/articles/80661/20150831/motorola-updates-camera-and-gallery-apps-now-allows-qr-code-scanning-and-saving-albums-to-microsd.htm


Peter is the founder of the QR Code Platform qrd.by. He is a QR Code enthusiast and consults agencies with his expertise to launch successfull QR Code campaigns. Get in touch with him on:


4 thoughts on “QR Code decoding support for native camera App on iPhone, Android or Windows devices

  1. Travis

    This is untrue about google. Most Android devices are preloaded with an app called Google Goggles unless removed by the manufacturer which if you take a picture of a QR code or any identifiable text link etc… will alert you with a link and or the value of the code. This also works with 2d codes and gives a google search result of what the UPC goes to

  2. Peter Post author

    Thank you for those links! It’s a pitty that Apple already has the QR Code decoding algorithms implemented but has not add them to the native camera app yet.

  3. Richard Falk

    Since iOS 7 Apple has included QR reading in their OS via AVCaptureMetaDataOutput so it’s part of the OS though isn’t trivial to implement (but at least others have done it):


    On Android, one can use the ZXing library:


    Am I missing something?


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